What to Consider Before You Buy an MDM Solution

Loraine Lawson
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Six Steps to MDM Success

Steps you should take before embarking on a master data management initiative.

Experts agree that data should belong to the business, as should data-related disciplines such as data governance and master data management.


It makes sense, then, that business users and stakeholders should also be involved in selecting your MDM tool, contends Information Management consultant Manjeet Singh Sawhney.


Sawhney, who works for the UK-based Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), sees it as so critical, it's how he starts out his recent discussion on "How to select an MDM Tool."


He also suggests you consider the following when evaluating MDM solutions:

  • How usable is the tool?
  • What's the cost of the solution, including development costs, time and the effort required to find and fix errors?
  • What about integration? Is it capable of integrating with your existing enterprise systems?
  • Do you need global data synchronization? If so, does it support it?


But this isn't just a list of questions for you to consider. He actually includes a step-by-step process for selecting an MDM tool, which includes a software/hardware inventory, finding out if your company has any near-term plans for mergers and requesting demos and RFPs.


I won't repeat the whole post, but it seems pretty darn thorough and definitely worth checking out if you're considering an MDM tool. I especially like that he offers suggestions on how to thin down your "maybe" list so that you find the solution that can best fill your most pressing requirements.


One thing he doesn't discuss is what needs to be in place before you move on MDM. Here's a clue: It starts with data and ends with "ality."


If you guessed data quality, give yourself a gold star!


"Before implementing a master data management solution, you need a clear plan for cleansing and consolidating this data to ensure proper data quality and separate what you can and should use from what you can't," advises Clarence Hempfield, a blogger for Engage Today, which is owned by Pitney Bowes Software. "Unless you can link this information together in an intelligent way, it is of little use to your company."


Point taken. While both articles are worth a read, before you buy an MDM tool, definitely run through Sawhney's checklist. I think it'll help ensure you're happy with your choice.

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